It was a winning start for Scotland’s reigning T20 Men’s Scottish Cup champions Carlton today in the their first ever European Champions League group match versus Romanian champions Cluj. Against the backdrop of the stunning Cartama Oval in Spain’s Costa del Sol, Carlton won the toss and captain Evans elected to have a bat.
Adjusting to the new T10 format was always going to be challenging for Carlton, however Pillai lead from the front hitting four of the first ball and quickly moved to 44 off 18 balls until being caught at the end of the 5th over.
Shah was equally impressive with the bat hitting 43 of 17 balls which included four maximums and with another six from Mohammed off the last ball, Carlton posted 124/6 which was marginally under their target but par for the conditions.
Having won dramatically by one run in their earlier group match, Cluj started aggressively scoring 16 off the first over and looked like a side that were comfortable with the T10 format, however Carlton halted the momentum in the 3rd over with two quick wickets from Khan.
Khan went on to claim a further two wickets in the 9th ending any prospect of Cluj chasing their target. Raza, Beattie, Gupta and Mohammed all contributed to the fall of wickets restricting Cluj to 112/9.
Captain Ali Evans said “We are very proud to get the first win under our belt and delighted with the performances of Arun and Ali with the bat. They adapted quickly to a new speed of game and the way they fronted up to it and took it on was brilliant.
“We then backed it up on the field although had to learn on our feet playing against some really good ball strikers. Ultimately, our ability to stay calm when the game was going quick was key to the win and we will learn more about this format with every game and improve throughout the week.”
Carlton coach Stevie Gilmour commented “I am very pleased with the first outing and I thought Arun set us up in the powerplay hitting some strong shots which made the rest of the innings a bit more comfortable.
“Ali Shah hit some magnificent strikes of a cricket ball with some pretty big sixes and although we left a few shots out there at the end, it was a decent total to defend. What is important, is that we learn more about the different phase’s of the game and how to play T10 cricket as we go through the week.
“Bowling wise we fought hard with the ball and it was pleasing to see Shujaa get the player of the match. I thought Adeel Raza bowled well in his two overs for 17 picking up two wickets and I was pleased with the fielding which was high class for the most part including a spectacular catch from Arun.”
Carlton play two group matches tomorrow (Tuesday 22nd) versus Prague CC Kings (8am GMT) and Swiss champions Olten (2pm GMT). Both matches will be streamed live on ECN HERE